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Thursday, November 30, 2006

77 New Medicines Now in Development for HIV/AIDS

Seventy-seven new medicines and vaccines are in development to treat HIV/AIDS and related conditions, according to a survey released today by the Pharmaceutical Research and
Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Recent reports show AIDS has killed more than 25 million people and infected an estimated 40 million people worldwide. As many as 1.2 million U.S. residents are estimated to have HIV infection.

"We are greatly encouraged by the new, critically-important medicines in development to treat HIV/AIDS," says PhRMA President and CEO Billy Tauzin. "PhRMA member companies are leading the search for vaccines and treatments for this terrible disease."

PhRMA's survey reveals that of the 77 new medicines in development, researchers are studying 19 new vaccines and 35 antivirals. These drugs are either in human clinical trials or are awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Examples of other new HIV/AIDS medicines being researched include:

* One medicine, the first in a new class of drugs known as integrase
inhibitors, has been shown to decrease viral load in patients with
significant HIV drug resistance.

* A vaccine combines DNA snippets from the AIDS virus with a protein that
boosts immune response. The vaccine may prevent infection, limit the
damage the virus causes, or both.

* A medicine in development binds itself to a receptor protein found on
the surface of human cells and blocks the HIV virus from entering the

The survey also notes that 88 medicines to treat HIV/AIDS and related
conditions have been approved since the virus that causes AIDS was first
identified more than 20 years ago; the first such medicine was developed in
1987, just six years after the HIV virus was identified. The increased
availability and utilization of newer prescription medicines has helped to
reduce the U.S. death rate from AIDS substantially in recent years.
Since the early 1990s, medicines also have significantly reduced
mother- to-child transmission of HIV in the United States, according to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the National Institutes of
Health (NIH) report that since the mid-1990s, when the first protease
inhibitors (a class of anti-HIV drugs that prevent HIV-infected cells from
producing new copies of the virus) were launched and combination drug
therapy was introduced, the U.S. death rate from AIDS has dropped about 70

New treatments have also reduced hospitalization and the total cost of care, according to a 2001 New England Journal of Medicine study.

Despite astounding progress, AIDS remains a devastating and growing worldwide health problem in developing countries, and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, China, Russia and India. An estimated 38.6 million people worldwide were living with HIV at the end of 2005, with an estimated 4.1 million people becoming newly infected with HIV last year, according to the
United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

"With HIV/AIDS medicines, a disease that was once a virtual death
sentence can now be controlled and treated as if it were a chronic
disease," says Tauzin. "And the new medicines our scientists are working
on right now bring hope for even more promising results in the future."

To read the report on the PhRMA Web site, click on the following link:

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)
represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology
companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to
live longer, healthier, and more productive lives.


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